Around one in every 20 adults who seeks medical care in a US emergency room or community health clinic receives a misguided diagnosis, a new study found, estimating that 12 million Americans a year are affected by erroneous medical conclusions.
Of those misdiagnoses, about six million could prove harmful to patients with delicate or serious conditions, according to lead researcher and patient safety expert Dr. Hardeep Singh, of the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, is the first to offer vast population-level data on wrong outpatient assessments. Investigating misdiagnoses is difficult, as researchers use different definitions for such mistakes, and it is not easy to track medical cases from an array of providers over time.
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